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New York Life insurance review 2021

18 to 90

Issue Age

$100,000 to $25,000,000



Medical Exam Required


Policies Term, Whole, Universal, Variable
Coverage maximum $25,000,000
Term lengths Any term length between 10 years and 20 years
Medical exam required Yes
Available states All 50 states and DC
Issue age Not listed


  • Long list of riders to customize policies


  • Term lengths capped at 20 years instead ot the standard 30 years
  • No online quotes; only agents can finalize your application
Riders No info available

Review by

Katia Iervasi is a staff writer who hails from Australia and now calls New York home. Her writing and analysis has been featured on sites like Forbes, Best Company and Financial Advisor around the world. Armed with a BA in Communication and a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance topics for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).

Expert review

New York Life insurance is an industry giant with term and permanent policies like variable universal life and at least nine riders, more options than typical for a life insurer. Its comprehensive plans help you tailor a policy to your needs.

That being said, you can’t apply for a policy online. And term life policies only stretch to 20 years, while policies from other companies typically offer longer terms like 30 years.

Despite those downsides, New York Life sees top customer and financial ratings and few complaints, making it a solid option. But explore your life insurance options to find the best policy for you.

Read the full review

This article was reviewed by Andrew Flueckiger, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and certified insurance counselor and licensed insurance agent in five states.

Best of 2021
Finder experts pick New York Life as a 2021 best brand for life insurance.

Factors that affect New York Life insurance rates

To reach New York Life’s best rate class, you’ll need to meet these specific requirements:

  • Blood pressure. Maximum of 130/80 for ages 18 to 59, and a maximum of 140/85 for ages 60 to 69.
  • Cholesterol. Maximum of 250 with a maximum HDL of 4.5.
  • Driving record. Two or less moving violations within two years and no DWI or DUI within five years.
  • Family history. No cardiovascular disease in parents or siblings before age 60.
  • Nicotine. No nicotine use within the last five years.

How to get a quote from New York Life insurance

You can reach New York Life by phone at 800-225-5695. Otherwise, follow these steps to get started online, then chat with an agent to finalize your policy:

  1. On New York Life’s homepage, click Don’t have an agent yet from the Contact Us tab.
  2. Select your financial goals, or click Skip to talk to a financial professional now.
  3. Enter your contact information, including name, address, phone number, birthdate and email address. Then, click Submit.
  4. An agent will contact you within a couple of business days to discuss your policy options.

New York Life offers term and permanent life insurance

This company sells both term and permanent life insurance policies, catering to a wide variety of people and needs.

  • Annual renewable term life. Starts with low premiums that raise each year until the term ends, ideal if you want short-term insurance before converting to a permanent policy.
  • Term life. A term policy offers fixed premiums and a death benefit if you die during your 10- or 20-year term.
  • Universal. Builds cash value while offering flexible premiums and death benefits. New York Life offers a wide range of universal life options.
  • Variable universal. Invests its cash value in riskier accounts compared to other policies for a higher return. Plus, you can adjust your premiums and death benefits.
  • Whole life. Whole life insurance offers lifelong coverage with level premiums and builds cash value. You may earn dividends from the insurance company’s profits.

New York Life insurance riders

You could add these common riders to your coverage — New York Life gives you more choices than many of its competitors:

  • Accelerated death benefit rider. This living benefits rider pays some of your death benefit early if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, though you’ll pay a fee to use it.
  • Accidental death benefit rider. If you die from an accidental injury, the insurer pays an extra benefit up to $300,000.
  • Child rider. Extends term coverage to your child. The child can convert to permanent life insurance when they reach age 25 or marry, or when the policyholder reaches age 65.
  • Guaranteed insurability rider. Also called a policy purchase option, this add-on lets you buy more insurance later without taking a medical exam.
  • Long-term care rider. Also referred to as the chronic care rider, this rider lets you to pull from your death benefit to pay for professional care if you become chronically ill.
  • Waiver-of-premium rider. If you become disabled for six months or more, this rider waives premiums up to age 100. You can add this rider later, but you’ll go through underwriting again.

New York Life also offers these riders angled toward permanent life policyholders:

  • Return of cash value rider. If you die within a specified time frame, your beneficiaries will receive a benefit equal to the amount of premium you paid into your policy.
  • Lapse protection rider. This rider guarantees a death benefit no matter how the growth of your cash value performs, as long as you pay your premiums and don’t violate loan requirements.
  • Spouse rider. This rider lets your spouse purchase a new paid-up life insurance policy without providing proof of insurability.

New York Life insurance reviews are mostly positive

New York Life isn’t accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but it holds an A- rating for its customer interaction. The BBB has recorded 92 complaints over the last three years, which is relatively low for an insurance company this size. Customers award the insurer 1.67 out of 5 stars, though this is based on a handful of reviews.

On TrustPilot, New York Life has 4 out of 5 stars, with customers commenting on its user-friendly online services.

AM Best financial rating A++
BBB accredited No
BBB rating A-
1.67/5 out of 6 customer reviews
Trustpilot score 4/5 out of 3 customer reviews
JD Power score 784
Customer reviews verified as of 30 June 2021

How New York Life insurance compares to other companies

New York Life offers a suite of policies, including universal and renewable term life that you won’t find everywhere. Its nine riders offer more customization than most insurers with four or five riders.

The company also gets high marks for customer service. It received a 0.22 complaint ratio from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2019, showing few complaints compared to the national complaint index of 1.00.

However, most insurers offer 30-year term life policies, while New York Life stops at 20 years. It also doesn’t offer indexed universal life or no medical exam policies.

Explore life insurance companies like New York Life

See how New York Life fares against other companies’ coverage and benefits. Check the Compare box to see up to four companies side by side.

Name Product Issue age Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Term Lengths Medical Exam Required
18 - 60 years old
5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years
Compare 40+ insurers and apply online to get the lowest possible price — no medical exam required.
Policygenius - Life Insurance
18 - 85 years old
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Depends on provider and policy
Compare 12+ top insurers side-by-side to get the best possible deal, and shop return of premium policies online.
18 - 60 years old
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Get a quote in less than 10 minutes with on-the-spot approval and no medical exam.
Everyday Life
20 - 75 years old
10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years.
Ladder multiple life insurance policies to save on the coverage you need for all your debts.
20 - 60 years old
10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years
No, for coverage up to $3M
Apply for term life insurance online without the medical exam. Get an instant decision and adjust your coverage at no charge.

Compare up to 4 providers

Life insurance ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

Our experts analyze life insurance companies to help you to find the strongest possible policy and premium for your family’s needs. We assess their financial strength, customer satisfaction, policy features and riders. We then give each insurer a score between one and five stars that reflects their offering and reputation in the industry. New York Life insurance gets a four and a half out of five stars for good customer service and a wide range of policy customization options.

Learn more about our methodology here.

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